Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be: Lessons on Change, Loss, and Spiritual Transformation
Lama Surya Das
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The beloved American Lama, a spiritual leader whose inimitable light and
lively universal teaching style has awakened the spirituality of thousands, now shares an enlightened approach to change and loss, dealing with difficult emotions such as fear, grief, and anger, and the role of crisis in uncovering our authentic selves.
For many people, recent years have been characterized by profound change, whether it relates to financial upheaval, political shifts, or even massive losses of life to disease and violence. Even on the personal level each person must confront the curves life throws his or her way. Buddhism has a great deal to say about change and impermanence and how to meaningfully deal with it. Change--whether on a large or small scale--provides our most important opportunity for learning about ourselves and the nature of reality. From this essential insight Lama Surya Das has crafted a fulfilling and important path to understanding and healing ourselves and finding peace.
Full of personal stories, anecdotes, practical exercises, guided meditations and reflections, and pithy original aphorisms, Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be addresses life's most universal difficulties in a way that is accessible to all. By using memorable concepts such as The Virtues of Adversity, The Pearl Principle ("No inner irritation, no pearl"), and Gaining through Loss, Surya reminds readers that hiding from change and loss is futile. Learning to consciously accept and embrace change leads to a better understanding of ourselves and our own innate divine light.
and I'm worried about being evicted. Even so, I don't have the energy or the will to go job hunting. I need to let go of my misfortune and move on; I should start talking to people in my field about finding work, but I still feel too sad. Molly's Losses I have two losses that compete as to which is the biggest. The first is my mother's death. She was the one person in the world who gave me a sense of unconditional love. I talked to her daily and shared everything with her. After she became ill,
man, born as Siddhartha, who we now know as Gautama, the Buddha. Suddhodana was a powerful leader, wealthy enough to build a walled castle filled with flower gardens, elegant food, gracious furnishings, beautiful music, and great luxury. Legend has it that before Siddhartha, the child who was to become the Buddha, was born, his mother had a dream: She saw her son as a great spiritual warrior, a radiant Bodhisattva who was transformed into a white elephant. The elephant climbed a golden mountain,
friends. I find this truly works in very profound psychological ways. This unique visualization practice originated in Tibet with an eleventh-century female yogini named Machig Labdron, who had received it from her Indian guru. I was originally trained in Chod in Darjeeling by the wise and learned lama Kalu Rinpoche, who went through it with me step by step. Although I thought it a strange and an incredibly esoteric ritual for a Jewish kid from Long Island, under my good lama's direction, I
to be a locked door in the rear in the hopes that some mysterious laundry munchkin would emerge. I found the phone number for the person who ran the laundromat. “We're sorry,” a voice said, “but there is a sign that says we are not responsible for clothes left in the laundromat.” “Do you have a lost and found?” I asked. “No.” There was no significant information forthcoming. They had a disclaimer on the wall. And I had lost my clothes. The next day I ran into a buddy who happened to be a
and nurture it. Love nature and use that love to renew your senses and your awareness of the joys of life. Love Children Even if you don't have any children or grandchildren of your own, there are other children in the world who need to be loved and embraced. Volunteer at a hospital; volunteer with the Big Brothers or Big Sisters. Just about every community has some way that you can develop a positive, wholesome relationship with boys and girls. When I take a young child to a movie or a zoo or